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The Orion Monolithic Dome Home

A New Look.

The Orion dome home in Italy, Texas was the first Orion-style Monolithic Dome ever built.

Gary Clark / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Living Room.

The living room of Clark’s Monolithic Dome home.

Gary Clark / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Orion is Gary Clark’s Monolithic Dome residence at the Monolithic Dome Research Park in Italy, Texas. Built in 1999, it is the prototype and namesake of the Orion Style Monolithic Dome construction process. It was the first dome constructed using a single-sided form for the stemwalls and integrated the stemwall-dome construction.

What made the Orion so appealing and groundbreaking at the time was the ability to have straight walls. As Clark put it, “The Orion combines the best of two worlds: the strength and integrity of a Monolithic Dome with the convenience and conventional look of straight outer walls.”

A Cheery Kitchen.

The cheery kitchen has easy access to the formal dining room.

Gary Clark / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Clark says the downside of building the first Orion was “that there was so much interest in this new type of dome, we had a steady stream of folks wanting to tour it.”

The home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a family room, a living room, a utility room and a dining room. The dome is 45 feet in diameter. This Orion-style home is built using 17 8-foot (2.5 m) by 8-foot (2.5 m) panels to create the one-sided form for the stemwall. The dome on top is an oblate ellipse, 20 feet (6 m) tall.

Warm Colors and Flat Walls.

The Orion is built on an 8-foot, 17-sided stemwall, making it easy to hang wall decor on the perimeter walls.

Gary Clark / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The idea of a spherical dome with straight walls was entertained and actively pursued at MDI for a long time. “It all started to come together when we began building spray-in-place concrete fences, using plywood forms and spraying them with concrete,” Clark said. “We soon realized we could adapt this technology to making walls.”

The Orion’s unique Monolithic Dome design and durability brought television cameras to Clark’s front door. Dallas’ Channel Eleven focused a segment of its popular afternoon show Positively Texas on the Orion. The TV crew toured the entire house while Clark talked about the dome’s ability to withstand natural disasters, particularly tornadoes that often threaten this part of Texas.

Metal cladding was installed during an exterior renovation of the home in 2023.

Detailed Work.

The Orion was clad with metal shingles in 2023.

Gary Clark / Monolithic Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

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